The meteorological department’s forecast for snowfall across Kashmir Valley and hilly areas of Jammu came true. As it turned out, there was good snowfall in plains as well as upper reaches of the valley besides Pir Panjal Range. While other parts of the valley received snowfall earlier also, Srinagar and parts of central Kashmir including Ganderbal received major snowfall of the season in the last 24 hours much to the delight of people. Even though it brought about difficulties, snowfall during winter is always welcome.
The snow during the winter lasts longer. The snow in freezing temperatures usually gets stored above the peaks and melts gradually with the onset of summer. It is this snow that adds to the glaciers of Kashmir and replenishes the perennial reservoirs that feed the rivers, streams and lakes during the summer.
Major Kashmir glacier, the Kolahoi that feeds Lidder and Sindh rivulets, both tributaries of Jhelum, has lost almost 23 per cent since 1962, as per study.
More snowfall, the better it is for plant growth also. Plants in the alpine meadows including medicinal plants grow better and their biomass production is higher.
It is not the case that Kashmir received deficit rainfall but snowfall had eluded especially Srinagar hitherto.
The snowfall might have brought hardships to people but it’s always good given the future benefits. The farmers need to clear water channels and drains to ensure complete drainage from the orchards and nurseries, shake trees to remove snow immediately from their branches after snowfall; provide support to trees or limbs which are not strong enough to stand; stake newly planted trees, if fruit trees tilt, reduce the canopy load by pruning; If the trees get partially uprooted, slowly pull back the trees to the original position and take other measures. The administration should ensure that roads are cleared within reasonable dispatch by pressing men and machinery. Most of the lanes and by-lanes are still snow-clogged and as such extra-effort should be put in to ensure that commuting is made hassle-free in the areas where it snowed heavily. Power department officials have put in great effort to restore the electricity at grid level and now field staff locally must ensure that damaged electric poles and wires need to be replaced or repaired to restore the essential service. Other departments must do their bit to ensure availability of the services under their working domain.